OK, I'm deep into retirement, about three weeks worth, and having resigned the church where I was pastor for 14 years, I'm wide open to attend other churches on Sunday. I've always wanted to visit around on Sunday but the churches I've served have expected me to show up in my own every Sunday. Now I'm free to, that's right, church shop!
So, how's it going? Well, not so bad.
So far, the pastor hasn't preached at either of the churches I've visited. And, since I called ahead to the church I'm attending tomorrow, I know he will not be in the pulpit there either. Plodder will have struck out in hearing pastors' pulpiteering.
What's it take to find a pastor preaching in his own pulpit these days? I didn't know that the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas was such a big vacation time. I was always very busy during that period. Oh, well.
I'd have to say that folks in the churches have looked askance at me and my lovely wife in church, as if to say, "Who are you?" I knew a couple of folks in both of the churches we visited and they spoke. Both churches had canned greeting times and folks spoke to us then. Aside from that, we were left alone.
I always made it a point to approach people I knew were visitors in my church, before the service. That was always well received except for the guy who told me, "I didn't come to church to be interrogated" (there's a story in that one).
One church had a soloist do a concert, a solid hour starting thirty minutes into the service. Um, ah...well, I'm a patient man and didn't have to beat the Methodists to the restaurant anyhow. Thank God she had her own music. That church needs, desperately, a new piano. My wife, a music person, just about crawled under the pew when the piano was played. Notes no one had ever heard before came out of that alleged piano. Surely someone notices that stuff.
The other church had a denominational employee filling in. After he declared, several times, that he probably wouldn't be invited back, his way of boasting about his being unfettered by any homiletical restraints, I think his prophecy was self-fulfilling. I'm guessing the vacationing pastor heard about his supply guy.
I know the pastors of both these churches and we will revisit them in the future. They are both good churches with good folks.
One of my wife's concerns is that I would sit smugly, fold my arms, and critique the pastor's message. So far there hasn't been a pastor or any Biblical message.
Maybe this week. This is proving to be a bit of an adventure.